Cold War Files: The Russian “Alfa” Attack Sub

Alfa

The Soviet Union began the Cold War well behind the United States in submarine technology.

Although the Soviets acquired several of the most advanced German submarine types towards the end of the war, the United States had amassed a wealth of experience in submarine and antisubmarine practice from the Pacific War and the Battle of the Atlantic.

Combined with other technological advantages, the United States leapt out to a significant lead in submarine tech (especially nuclear submarines) in the first two decades of the Cold War.

In particular, early Soviet nuclear submarines struggled to compete with the West in stealth and reliability. After the first few designs came to fruition, the Soviets decided to undertake a combination of brute force and extremely risky high technology.

The brute-force part meant building a submarine that could move faster and dive deeper than any Western counterpart. The high-tech part meant innovative hull design, reactor design and material manipulation.

The result was the Type 705 Lyra (known as Alfa in NATO), a submarine that the West regarded as a profound, if short-lived, threat to its undersea dominance.

The brute-force part meant building a submarine that could move faster and dive deeper than any Western counterpart. The high-tech part meant innovative hull design, reactor design and material manipulation.

The result was the Type 705 Lyra (known as Alfa in NATO), a submarine that the West regarded as a profound, if short-lived, threat to its undersea dominance.

Read the Remainder at War is Boring

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  1. Pingback: Cold War Files: The Russian “Alfa” Attack Sub — Hammerhead Combat Systems | Rifleman III Journal

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